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Review: Elbow - Thetford Forest

PUBLISHED: 23:20 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 09:04 30 June 2017

Elbow with lead singer, Guy Garvey perform on the opening night of Forest Live 2017 at High  Lodge Thetford.
Pic: Lee Blanchflower.

Elbow with lead singer, Guy Garvey perform on the opening night of Forest Live 2017 at High Lodge Thetford. Pic: Lee Blanchflower.

Lee Blanchflower Limited 2017

Over the past ten years indie band Elbow have steadily gathered fans, so much so they have sold out shows at some of the UK’s biggest venues on their CV.

Elbow with lead singer, Guy Garvey perform on the opening night of Forest Live 2017 at High Lodge,Thetford. Pic: Lee Blanchflower. Elbow with lead singer, Guy Garvey perform on the opening night of Forest Live 2017 at High Lodge,Thetford. Pic: Lee Blanchflower.

It was a real treat therefore for devotees in this region to get to see them in the comparatively more intimate surroundings of Thetford Forest’s High Lodge.

Intimate may seem like a strange word to use given there were still several thousand present at Thursday night’s show.

But if you’ve had the fortune of seeing this band (this was about my tenth time) you’ll know they have a fantastic knack of making you feel like they really are playing to just you and your friends.

Much of that is thanks to the down to earth, chatty and man of the people nature of lead singer Guy Garvey. Why this man isn’t considered a national treasure I don’t know.

Elbow with lead singer, Guy Garvey perform on the opening night of Forest Live 2017 at High  Lodge Thetford.
Pic: Lee Blanchflower. Elbow with lead singer, Guy Garvey perform on the opening night of Forest Live 2017 at High Lodge Thetford. Pic: Lee Blanchflower.

He always appears to be on top form, both in terms of chatter and that wonderful soaring voice of his, and tonight is no different.

13-year-old Bronwyn gets a round of happy birthday, the drunk ‘Norfolk lads’ get singled out and Mike Taylor, who came up with the idea of gig in the forest but died in 2015 gets a dedication.

Of course he’d be nothing more than a stand-up comedian who happens to have a great singing voice if Elbow didn’t have the tunes to go with it.

And my word do they have the tunes.

Now seven albums in, none of them duds by the way, heaven knows how they chose what to play and what not to.

We are treated to a mix of tracks from their new album Little Fictions, the highlight of which is the epic Magnificent, and lots and lots of classics.

The Bones of You and Mirrorball are just two of my favourites - but I could honestly list the whole gig when trying to single songs out.

Throughout Elbow has the crowd singing along, swaying, hand clapping, finger clicking and at times entranced by the wall of sound the band is able to create (check the rocking Grounds for Divorce).

That’s brought to a head with fan favourite One Day Like This (the Olympic song), which turns into a wonderful mass sing-a-long.

A simply wonderful evening in the forest.

* I must namecheck support act Steve Mason, former lead singer of The Beta Band but now carving out a very impressive solo career. A perfect choice as support and he didn’t disappoint, especially with a finale of Dry The Rain, his former band’s classic.

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